Author Topic: Obituaries  (Read 592 times)

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Offline Chronos

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Obituaries
« on: December 20, 2012, 11:53:17 PM »
My father passed away early this morning. It was not unexpected. He was 85 and had multiple medical problems but he was finally taken down by pneumonia. Mentally, he slowly began drifting away from us a few years ago. He had a certain level of dementia, mainly in the form of memory loss.

Anyway, I had never heard my father utter the word "god" or "religion" in my entire life, and my parents had stopped attending their church about 40 years ago. Yet, when we were making funeral arrangements and his obituary was being prepared, my mother and brother identified him as a member of the church he last attended (where he was also baptized). I would not say that my father didn't have faith but considering his lack of attendance and never discussing the issue one way or another, he certainly was keeping to himself about it. The need to identify a faith is quite strong, especially in death.

Given that I am among the youngest in my family and extended family, if any of them are still around when I die they are going to be quite shocked at what lack of faith will end up in my obituary.

Quote
In lieu of flowers, donations made be made to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, or the American Red Cross. The deceased requests that no donations be made in his name to any organization that promotes religious beliefs or practices. You can discuss your beliefs with him when you reach the other side.

The first two organizations are going to be soooo popular, but the third one is an easy, generic escape.


John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline SHIN KAIRI

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Re: Obituaries
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2012, 12:03:03 AM »
Sorry to hear... My condolences.


Church attendance is meaningless. Actually one should not even go to church. One should be non-denominational. So, that's good news for your father.

Other good news for your father is that you can rest assured, he is not being tormented in some imaginary place called hell as the churches say. He has returned to the ground. To the earth. To the dust from which he was formed. No thoughts, no emotions, no suffering, nothing. Complete nothingness.

He will be resurrected in a few years with all the others who have ever lived to make a final choice. Until then, may your father R.I.P


Blessings my friend.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2012, 07:48:41 AM by Chronos »
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Offline Nick

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Re: Obituaries
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2012, 04:22:29 AM »
Sorry for your loss Chronos.  We all should be so lucky to make it to 85.  A lot of people from your father's period of time were very private about such things.  Even among the family.  You often hear that so and so was a member of such and such church and you know they had little to do with it or it was just a family connection of some type.  I guess it feels better than just leaving it blank.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Obituaries
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2012, 06:11:03 AM »
Chronos-

I am so sorry to hear about the death of your father.  I hope that as you and your family and friends reflect on his 85 years as a sentient being on planet earth, you will find comfort in his accomplishments and his deeds and the ways in which he has touched the lives of those around him.   May your memories of him in the days before his dementia dominate the narratives that you share with loved ones, and may there be laughter as well as tears in the days and weeks to come, as those who loved him most come together to honor the life that he lived.   

In terms of charities you want your loved ones to honor in your memory, I would like to commend you for giving this issue thought.  As someone who works in a not-for-profit, I believe strongly in the roles that not for profits play-in-our society. 

The Red Cross does wonderful work, and I personally know many people who have benefited from their strong organization and efforts.  However, I'm a little resentful of the high salaries of their top officials. Here is one piece focusing on various big charities and staff salaries.  http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/charities.asp

I also know that any medium to large  organization needs a strong infrastructure, and that there are certainly overhead costs associated with any infrastructure.  But here is a little bit on overhead in the Red Cross.   http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=123956&page=1#.UNRCg8Mo7m4

If you are considering other charities, you can learn a little bit about the ways they use their money here http://www.guidestar.org/

Again, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your father.  You have had too much loss this year.  As I am sure you already know, grief comes in waves.  There are times in the days and weeks and months to come that you will feel great, and probably then be surprised when the grief comes sneaking up on you again.  Be kind to yourself as you go through this process.

Offline Nick

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Re: Obituaries
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2012, 07:04:08 AM »
Prob not the thread for this conversation but I like the Red Cross.  Our neighbor had a house fire and they were there before the fire was out.  Just yesterday I29 was closed for 200 miles (ice/snow).  Cars were deverted off each exit along the way.  Red Cross was there waiting with a warm place to wait.  They are always there with a smile and make things better and don't ask for anything in return.
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Offline Chronos

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Re: Obituaries
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2012, 08:38:45 AM »
Thanks for all the condolences.

In terms of charities you want your loved ones to honor in your memory, I would like to commend you for giving this issue thought.  As someone who works in a not-for-profit, I believe strongly in the roles that not for profits play-in-our society. 

The Red Cross does wonderful work, and I personally know many people who have benefited from their strong organization and efforts.  However, I'm a little resentful of the high salaries of their top officials ...

As am I, but it appears that these organizations base their pay, at least in part, on the ability of the management to gain donations. It seems incongruent for a charitable organization to pay employees to do work, but given that Americans work harder and harder, there is less time to actually donate hours of personal time to a charity. More evidence of American greed, more or less.

I am familiar with Guidestar. I have worked with the American Red Cross and find it the least offending charity for general help to those who need it. Over the years I became more and more offended by the overreaching means by which the United Way pushes for donations, just to find out later that they were really pissing away millions in salaries and bonuses. Maybe they have reformed since, I don't know. Nevertheless, in the field of work that I do the American Red Cross is an organization that often partners with us in working disasters, big or small. They are always there.

It's also the charity with the least ideology, so if someone wants to donate to a charity without making an ideological statement, the ARC wins. The local hospice programs are also big wins.

John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline Quesi

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Re: Obituaries
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2012, 12:23:17 PM »
@ Chronos- Clearly you've done your research, and you are familiar with the Red Cross.  And my concerns about salary levels do not detract from my respect for the good work that the Red Cross does.   

I apologize for distracting from the topic of this thread. 

May the secular community be among your support system in the days and weeks ahead. 

Offline Chronos

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Re: Obituaries
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2012, 04:29:36 PM »
@ Chronos- Clearly you've done your research, and you are familiar with the Red Cross.  And my concerns about salary levels do not detract from my respect for the good work that the Red Cross does.

More observation than research, really.

I apologize for distracting from the topic of this thread. 

I don't feel it was a distraction. The point of making such a statement in an obituary is to be of more use than normal, IMNSHO, and knowing which charities are best is wise. You provided a good resource.


John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline HAL

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Re: Obituaries
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2012, 07:06:24 PM »
Sorry to hear of your loss. My father passed away much younger due to smoking. Wish he would have quit but he couldn't.

Offline Nam

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Re: Obituaries
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2012, 05:09:23 AM »
My obit will say,

"Nam (or real name), a mean son-of-a-bitch in his tiring old age....yet I hear he was worse in his youth."

My father is only 60 but his father is the last of my grandparents who is alive. He's 83, and has alzheimer's. I haven't seen him in 20 years.

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Offline Chronos

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Re: Obituaries
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2013, 10:52:34 PM »
A difficult time continues through these holidays. My mother is in hospice and will soon pass away. She has had numerous medical problems in the past, but these have come to a head with a tumor (strangely, it is likely a benign tumor) that is growing and interfering with her esophagus and windpipe. Breathing is becoming more and more difficult for her. There are procedures she could undergo that may provide relief, but at 84 she has decided to avoid the trauma and side-effects (which could be numerous and painful). What's most difficult is that, unlike my father who may have only been partially aware of his circumstances, she is fully aware of what is happening to her. We were counting on this time in her life to be able to travel with her to places she had wanted to go, but the ravages of age got to her first.

(Those of you who are friends of mine on Facebook may or may not be aware of these events as some are posted to a private Facebook group.)

My mother asked to be cremated and she asked to not have a funeral service nor a memorial service. She instead has asked for a party to be held later (in much better weather) for all. However, we are left to write her obituary and we haven't discussed it at all. This has all happened rather unexpectedly.


Do make the most of your time with family in 2013!

John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

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Re: Obituaries
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2013, 11:05:41 PM »
i make fused glass memorial pieces with cremation remains in them for people. it's been quite theraputic for myself, as well as others, to be able to have a necklace or a glass display tile that you can keep close with your loved one in them. you'd never know what it was unless you were told, it's very subtle, and tasteful, and everyone comes out as unique as the person inside it.
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Offline DumpsterFire

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Re: Obituaries
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2013, 01:41:56 AM »
Please accept my condolences as well, Chronos.

My grandmother passed away (also at 85) in early '12 and it was the same thing at her funeral. She was identified as a longtime member of a local church, and the service was very god/heaven/Jesus oriented. Never mind that I literally cannot recall her ever once even mentioning church or god or espousing any religious belief in my whole life. Very odd.

Most people are simply unprepared to consider that a loved one is just gone, ceased to exist, no mas. It is much easier to just say they're in a better place.

My best to your mom.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Obituaries
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2013, 07:26:22 PM »
Chronos - I am so sorry.  You have certainly had a year of loss. 

May you spend this time talking to your mom, and if she can talk, listening to her.  My beloved father had superb hospice care, and I will always think warmly of the hospice staff.  I hope that your mother is receiving equally superb care. 

I love the party idea.   I cannot think of a better way to honor a loved one, than to surround yourself with the people that she loved, and the foods and drinks and music and environment that made her happiest. 

Keep us updated. 

Offline Chronos

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Re: Obituaries
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2013, 08:56:34 AM »
Mom passed last night, and it's still hard to believe. The hospice staff were great. Unfortunately, I have managed to experience too many different hospice programs, and they are all great.


Unexpectedly yesterday afternoon, and quite ironic considering my own thread here, my sister asked me to write our mother's obituary. Not really feeling in the mood to be creative, I opened our father's obituary and followed the pattern. I found the paragraph describing her life to be the hardest one to summarize. How does one effectively summarize a parent? Nevertheless, I did it. I skipped the paragraph about religious affiliation because I wasn't sure what we should write. My mother was born into and raised as a Roman Catholic until she met my father when she became a member of the local baptist church. Her affection for her time as a catholic was as important to her, perhaps moreso, than any other religious association she made. She continued to give to catholic charities up until the time she entered the hospital. Nevertheless, she was sure she had been excommunicated over 60 years ago because she hadn't taken communion in that long. So, I skipped that paragraph and worked on the others. Quite unintentionally, and not recognizing what I had done until this morning, I realized that my sister, one brother and sister-in-law had read and approved the obituary yesterday without once asking why the religious affiliation was missing. Even though my mother had donated to catholic charities for years, her final request in lieu of flowers was to donate money to the local library or a hospice program.

John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

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Re: Obituaries
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2013, 09:12:04 AM »
That must be very hard.  I grieve with you.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Obituaries
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2013, 10:38:32 AM »
I am so sorry to hear of the death of your mom. 

The obituary is done.  Now it is time to plan the party to honor her life.  Although it will be painful, I hope that you find some joy in the process of both planning and implementing her last wish.

I was thinking about your mom and your family last night, and I hope that you take comfort in the fact that although you saw her suffering during the end of her life, she had the power to make her own decisions.  She decided not to pursue medical treatment that might have prolonged her life, but which probably would have given her a very low quality of life.  She made a decision.  How lucky she was, and how lucky you and your family are, to live in a time in which we have these choices and are able to make informed decisions.  And how wonderful that she made the decision for herself.  When family members have to make the decisions about length of life vs quality of life, (in the absence of a living will) there is often a little twinge of self doubt. 

Take care of yourself in the days and weeks and even months to come, because they will be hard.   You will probably feel waves of unbearable grief, interspersed with feelings of numbness, and then times when you laugh and feel fine, and maybe even feel guilty about laughing.  Try and make sure you eat well and sleep well, because the grief will certainly take a toll on your body and your health in the short term.





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Re: Obituaries
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2013, 11:51:46 AM »
My condolences Chronos, please know that my thoughts are with you in this very trying time. I'm so sorry for your losses.
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